Is Wireless Internet & Network connections a hazard to health?
Are Wireless Internet access points' RF energy a health hazard?
Is Wi-Fi a hazard to your life? Do you fear that Wireless Internet and cell phones’ potential danger may one day be proven to be as harmful as cigarettes?
The doubt that wireless internet and cell phones pose any health risks has been floating through the minds of a vast majority of the population for a few years. Despite all the government’s attempts to prove the fear of Wi-Fi to be irrational, the question still remains unclearly answered.
The reason for health concerns involving Wi-Fi probably stems from the fact that “microwave radiation” is the same frequency at which wireless networks and some cell phones operate on: 2.4 GHz range. Does this mean we should worry? Not just yet, microwaves, cell phones’ RFs (radio frequencies), wireless networks, and even visible light are all non-ionizing; which means it’s virtually safe, it can cause some heating, but typically insufficient enough to provoke any manifestations of long-term damage to tissue.
However, as BBC News stated in a press release, “[Lakehead] University president Fred Gilbert, whose academic interests include environmental studies and natural resources science, is worried about the health impact of the 2.4Ghz radio waves used by wireless networks”. In effect, Wi-Fi was prohibited on most of the campus. “Mr. Gilbert believes that ‘microwave radiation in the frequency range of Wi-Fi has been shown to increase permeability of the blood-brain barrier, cause behavioral changes, alter cognitive functions, activate stress response, interfere with brain waves, cell growth, etc’. Unfortunately, science says he is wrong, and his students are suffering as a result”.
Lakehead University wasn’t the only place where there was a significant fear of radio frequency. In fact a few years ago there was doubt in the safety effects of the RF energy waves produced by cell phones, which led to young children being prohibited from using cell phones in the United Kingdom.
So, does that mean theres a reason to fear Wi-Fi and cell phones? Let’s examine the scientific aspect: “The human body is composed of about 60% water". This fact is rather important because the ‘non-ionizing’ property of RFs and microwaves that set them apart from harmful radiation “refer to whether the RF energy is high enough to break chemical bonds of water (ionizing) or not (non-ionizing). Technically, ionizing radiation is the amount of energy that can remove an electron from a water molecule (1,216 kJ/mol), and non-ionizing radiation is anything less than that amount”, According to the National Institute of Health Sciences.
Therefore, in terms of ionization, if microwaves are deemed safe and they typically operate between 800 to 1200 watts, then what safety concern might there be for cell phones that are typically government limited to around 1 watt? If any fear remains, then it won’t be by knowing that nearly all of the virtually harmless radiation is absorbed by the skull, but rather because despite the ultra low power of cell phones and the heavy protection from the skull, the cornea and other parts of the eyes remain virtually unprotected. However, the just because of the lack of protection doesn’t necessarily mean there is a risk.
An article on About.com also supports the idea: “The FCC and FDA Web site also stresses that no scientific evidence has been published demonstrating harm from short- term exposures to low levels of RF energy”. Further in same article it also adds, "FCC industry regulations limit the amount of RF energy that may be produced by a cell phone to safe levels far below those determined by scientists to have the potential for an adverse effect on humans".
Wireless networks operate at much less power than cell phones: typically standard wireless G access points transmit at a defualt of 25mw, that’s .025 of one watt. More powerful wireless networks can transmit up to 100mw or more, but that is still ten times less than a cell phone. Take at look at the figure below from WAPA (Wireless Access Providers’ Association of South Africa).
(Continued Below Figure)
EMR RatingsClick thumbnail to view full-size
With all of this proof that Wi-Fi and cell phones don’t have much ground to stem any fears of a health risks from, then could a YouTube video possibly poke doubt?
“World-renowned Epidemiologist Dr. George Carlo provided a high impact presentation that exposed the dangers of living in the wireless age in a way that everyone could understand. As the chief scientist of the world's largest research effort into wireless safety, the Safe Wireless Initiative (SWI), he discussed the effects of electromagnetic radiation, specifically Information Carrying Radio Waves (IRCWs) and how they negatively affect the body's ability to function and repair damage affecting our cells. This is great information about how EMF effects our health.”
Both the Fox31 press release and Dr. George Carlo presented a shocking but interesting concept of all the surrounding hazards EMFs have on our health. They are not the only ones either, many researchers and scientists also support that idea, and perhaps they are right and humanity blindly created an unhealthy technologically advanced world. Their research can at the very least serve as a warning that tells our world has become run by technology at every corner, and even if the danger is small, we need to be aware. However, if any of these videos provoked any fear, then rest assured because the FCC has strict laws to filter potentially unsafe products. “All wireless phones sold in the United States meet government requirements that limit their RF energy to safe levels...Manufacturers of wireless phones must report the RF exposure level for each model of phone to the FCC”.
To cut a much longer story short, a quote from a discussion on AskMetafFilter.com , sums it all up: “Visible light is also a form of primarily non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation. Each photon of visible light actually has more energy than radio frequency photons. So before you worry about electronic devices, you might consider keeping your wife and child in the dark all the time”.
Epidemiologist Dr. George Carlo
Fox31 News press release
More by this Author
Life, what is it? What can we say about our own life? Is life real, or merely an imaginary depiction of our own sense of being? Who are we really? The age old question of the meaning of life starts surfacing in...
side by side comparison of 720p to 1080p When it comes time to buy an HDTV, whether it may be a LCD or Plasma, a consumer needs to know what technology is right for them, but more importantly they need to know about...